Robots and geothermal energy are expected to help a Canadian company produce “eco-friendly” gold in Iceland, Mining Weekly reports. St-Georges Eco-Mining, which recently acquired all Icelandic mineral licences, is exploring the possibility of gold mining at several locations in Iceland, including at Þormóðsdalur just 20km (12.4mi) east of Reykjavík.
“Our emphasis will be on making the most eco-friendly and socially responsible gold in the world,” St-Georges CEO Vilhjálmur Þór Vilhjálmsson stated in an interview about the company’s plans in Iceland. “We foresee that our gold would be sold with a premium.”
Years of Research Required
Research is still needed to find out whether Iceland’s gold deposits are large or concentrated enough to be mined, and Vilhjálmur stated St-Georges expects to spend ISK 500 million ($3.6m/€3.1m) over the next few years on finding out. If mining does go ahead, Vilhjálmur insists that the operation would be minimally invasive.
“Our ideology is about making minimal disturbances to the ground,” he stated. “In Þormóðsdalur, you will hardly see when mining activity starts.” The company plans to make use of all materials extracted from the ground during mining. After the gold is extracted, the remaining material will be used in building material and concrete.
Holds All Mineral Rights in Iceland
St-Georges announced in a press release last month that it had acquired all Icelandic mineral licences in Iceland, giving it total control over all the mineral rights in the country. This makes it “the only junior exploration company to own all the mineral rights of a western country,” the press release states. Besides gold, the company also holds exploration rights for silver and copper in Iceland.
St-Georges has “direct and indirect control of all issued and pending mineral licences in Iceland,” covering a total area of over 4,600 square kilometres (1,780 square miles) in locations across the country, including Vopnafjörður, Northeast Iceland; Öxnadalur, North Iceland; and Þormóðsdalur. The latter location has some history of gold mining: poet and businessman Einar Benediktsson found a gold deposit at the site which was later investigated and mined between 1908-1925.
A senior analyst for metals and mining at Bloomberg Intelligence, Grant Sporre, has expressed scepticism St-Georges could sell Icelandic gold at a premium since there is no universal standard for what qualifies as “green gold.”